It was against England that India played their first Test. It was England that became the first team to tour India for international cricket. It was England whom India won their first ever Test.
England's colonial rule was the reason why India embraced cricket – a relationship that propelled the popularity of the sport in the subcontinent.
India's first Test match
India played their first ever Test match in 1932. Since then, both teams have played 33 series against each other, 15 of which have been played in India.
India are currently ranked No.2 in Test cricket, while England are at No.4.
India are also at the top of the ICC World Test Championship Points Table and England at No.4. Only a convincing series win in India can help England qualify for the tournament final at Lord’s.
A morale booster for England is that they are the last side to defeat India at home. That win came in 2012-13, a series in which Joe Root made his debut. Since then, India have just lost one Test at home in the last eight years. Joe Root, meanwhile, has played 99 Tests, and will play his 100th when he captains England against India for the first Test at Chennai.
India vs England Series Summary
Head-to-head, England have won 19 Test series while India has won 10. The same holds true for test matches as well. But India clearly have an upper hand at home.
India vs England Head-to-Head
Though England have dominated the 1900s, the contests have been more even in the 21st century. India and England have both won four series each since 2001. Both the sides have won one series each at the other’s home.
One of India's greatest Test wins came at Leeds in 2002, only their second-ever innings victory in overseas Tests. India scored a massive 628 for 8 and bundled England out for 273 and 309, winning by an innings and 46 runs. It was also the only instance when Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sourav Ganguly scored hundreds in the same innings.
The Big Three announced themselves in England
Speaking of the Big Three, each of the batsmen announced themselves in a big way at England in the 1990s.
A 17-year-old Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test hundred at Old Trafford, Manchester. Six years later, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid made their Test debuts at Lord’s. Ganguly scored 131, and Dravid 95.
Most runs in India-England Tests
Sachin Tendulkar leads the table with 2535 runs and an averahe of 51.73.
Most centuries in India-England Tests in India
5 – Alastair Cook (England)
3 – Ken Barrington, Andrew Strauss (England); Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, G Viswanath (India)
The first centurions in the India-England bilateral series were debutants Bryan Valentine and Lala Amarnath in the 1933 Bombay Gymkhana Test. Amarnath became the first Indian to reach the three-figure mark in Test cricket. The significance of Amarnath's hundred was massive for the suppressed British India as he went on to become an overnight hero.
Fifty-two years later, Mohammad Azharuddin would slam three centuries in his first three Tests. All of them came against the visiting England side. Azhar remains the only player to score three hundreds in his first three Tests.
For England, Alastair Cook scored three out of his five hundreds in India on the 2012-13 tour. In the same series, Kevin Pietersen slammed a match-winning 186 at Mumbai, arguably the finest innings played by a visiting batsman in India.
There have been 222 100+ scores in India-England Test encounters.
Highest scores in India-England Tests in India
303* – Karun Nair (India), December 2016, Chennai
235 – Virat Kohli (India), December 2016, Mumbai
224 – Vinod Kambli (India), February 1993, Mumbai
222 – G Viswanath (India), January 1982, Chennai
207 – Mike Gatting (England), January 1985, Chennai
Trivia: Graham Gooch's 333 at Lord's in 1990 remains the highest individual score in India-England records. Gooch scored 456 runs (333 and 123) in the Test, and it remains the record for most runs in a Test match.
In December 2016, Karun Nair became the second Indian to score a triple hundred in Test matches, the first being Virender Sehwag. It was Nair's third innings in Test cricket. He was dropped in the following Test to accommodate Ajinkya Rahane. Nair has played only three Tests since his remarkable feat.
Most wickets in India-England Tests
Most five-wicket hauls in India-England Tests in India
6 – B Chandrasekhar (India)
4 – Anil Kumble (India)
3 – R Ashwin, Bishan Bedi, L Sivaramakrishnan (India); Ian Botham, John Lever (England)
Trivia: In 1933, at Lord’s, Mohammad Nissar became India’s first bowler to claim a five-for in a Test innings. A year-and-half later, Nissar would claim another five-for at the Bombay Gymkhana, becoming the first Indian to claim a five-for on India soil.
Best bowling figures in India-England Tests in India
8 for 55 – Vinoo Mankad (India), February 1952, Chennai
8 for 79 – B Chandrasekhar (India), December 1972, Delhi
7 for 46 – John Lever (England), December 1976, Delhi
7 for 48 – Ian Botham (England), February 1980, Mumbai
7 for 48 – Ravindra Jadeja (India), December 2016, Chennai
7 for 49 – Hedley Verity (India), February 1934, Chennai
Trivia: Pacer Amar Singh's 7 for 86 during the 1934 Chennai Test became the best bowling figures on Indian soil. But the record lasted just hours, as Hedley Verity's left-arm spin wizardry saw him register new best figures of 7 for 49 on the same day.
Ian Botham would better Verity's figures in Mumbai in the 1980 Golden Jubilee Test. Botham's match haul of 13 for 106 remains the best-ever match bowling figures by a fast bowler on Indian soil. If that wasn't enough, Botham also scored a hundred in the Test.
Most dismissals for a wicketkeeper in India-England Tests
No captain has led more in India-England Tests than MS Dhoni. He has captained India in 15 Tests against England, winning only three and losing nine. Alastair Cook and Sunil Gavaskar have led in 14 Tests respectively.
Virat Kohli and Alastair Cook have five wins each and are tied at the top spot for most wins as captains in India-England encounters.
Joe Root has the best win-loss ratio of four for any captain in India-England Tests. Come February 5; it will be his first time captaining in India.
Top records in India from players of current squad
Squads for the India-England Test series:
India Squad for 1st and 2nd Test: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur.
England Squad for 1st and 2nd Test: Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes (vc), Rory Burns (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Foakes (wk), Zak Crawley, Daniel Lawrence, Dominic Sibley, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Olly Stone.
Schedule for the India-England Test series:
February 5-9, 2021: First Test, Chennai
February 13-17, 2021: Second Test, Chennai
February 24-28, 2021: Third Test, Ahmedabad
March 4-8, 2021: Fourth Test, Ahmedabad